Director – Christopher MacBride
Cast – Aaron Poole, James Gilbert, Alan C. Peterson
Release Year – 2013
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Despite the genre’s over-saturation of them I am admitted a sucker for POV / found footage films, and The Conspiracy was one of the few that I had been really looking forward to. Instead of giving us monsters, ghosts, aliens, or zombies we are given what feels like an actual documentary behind conspiracy theorists’ claims regarding the New World Order and the belief that a small group of people fun the world’s global economy. You may be asking yourself how on Earth such a conspiracy would pertain to the horror genre, but writer/director Christopher MacBride sure finds a way to combine the two unlikely allies in this slow but engaging experience.
As filmmakers Aaron and Jim embark on a documentary about conspiracy theories, their project takes on a horrific turn when they stumble upon an ancient and dangerous secret society.
What I noticed right away about this film was it really does come off like a legitimate conspiracy film, and to an extent I am willing to believe that a lot of what is said has been mentioned in other documentaries before – making this one of the few pseudo-documentary horror fils that is not entirely based on fiction. Aaron and Jim meet Terrence G., a conspiracy buff and activist who brings them into the world of the impending New World Order and its effects on global economics, us being slaves, and how the government tries to quell dissent among its citizens. A lot of the film comes off as a long Alex Jones episode and I mean no insult by that, it just seems that the topics are very similar to those he is often seen yelling about. Soon into the experience Terrence G. mysteriously disappears, and after not hearing from him for a month the two break into his home and begin to immerse themselves in his work. Pretty soon they come across information about the Tarsus Group, an ancient organization that many conspiracy theorists believe is behind the world’s global inner-workings, and it is then that the horror begins to manifest. Paranoia begins to set in when they find themselves followed by mysterious figures, but things really kick into gear when an insider allows them the opportunity to participate in the Tarsus Group’s rare “slaying of the bull” event and of course they take the opportunity. The final act is the most tense, with the ceremony going well at first but eventually crumbling and turning into the most nightmarish experience the filmmakers could have ever imagined and resulting in a climax that I never saw coming.
Christopher MacBride’s direction is solid and is the biggest reason behind the piece really coming off as a legitimate documentary. The first two acts really play off as such a film and only include a few scenes of “horror”, where our leads are harassed by strange figures after digging into the Tarsus Group. These acts were very engaging and I really did not mind the lack of horror, and that is solely due to MacBride’s execution of his equally engaging story. Once the third act does kick in and the horror is fully manifested I was very impressed with the tension and paranoia going on before me. The final scenes of horror were shocking and took us along for the ride thanks to the POV format, and while I would say not to expect blood or gore in this piece you most likely should not expect the traditional climax we usually see with these films.
Overall, The Conspiracy is another found footage film that thankfully gets things right in a day when the genre is saturated with found footage pieces that get things very wrong. The story is very different for the genre / sub-genre and should appease those looking for something new. While this is not outrightly horrific it is definitely engaging and ultimately provides the horror the viewer is looking for thanks to MacBride’s solid direction, especially when it mattered most.